Feds & Technology

In the last few days, several reports have emerged outlining steps the United States Federal Government is taking in realm of (personal) technology. These accounts are in line with what I recently told you in a post about Smart Speakers. When it comes to technology, privacy/security trumps EVERYTHING and the three (3) reports below are proof that the contentious convergence of government and technology is here to stay.

Here’s what you need to know:

Amazon, Google, Microsoft… Selling face-snooping tech to the Feds (The Register)

  • Why should you care? More than 85 advocacy groups focused on a diverse set of social issues, including racial justice, religious liberty, civil rights, human rights, and immigrant rights have raised concerns about this practice, including the ACLU.
  • You can read the full text of their letter here.

“History has clearly taught us that the government will exploit technologies like face surveillance to target communities of color, religious minorities, and immigrants.”

Feds Can’t Force You To Unlock Your iPhone…. With Finger Or Face (Forbes)

  • Why should you care? The judge says all logins are equal. In the past, they couldn’t force you to give up your pass code, now fingerprints, facial recognition (or other future innovations… i.e. voice) are also included. Forcing you to do this could be the equivalent of forcing you to self incriminate.

“If a person cannot be compelled to provide a pass code because it is a testimonial communication, a person cannot be compelled to provide one’s finger, thumb, iris, face, or other biometric feature to unlock that same device,” the judge wrote.

Feds to allow drones to to fly over crowds at night… and make routine night flights (ABC)

  • Why should you care? Rogue drones have been used to carry bombs on battlefields, to deliver contraband to prisoners, to interfere with firefighters and, last month, to cripple the operations of a major airport.
  • Last year, Congress approved a measure that will let the government develop a system to identify and hack or shoot down drones that authorities deem threatening.
  • Do these statements make you feel safe?

“Drones can collect massive amounts of sensitive data from people and can be equipped with facial recognition technology as well as license plate reading software”

Suzette Kemp is the Federal Government’s Chief Information Officer (CIO) appointed by President Donald Trump. The federal CIO is charged with driving government wide technology policy, leading the federal CIO Council and often putting out unexpected IT fires. She has recently said her office is crafting legislation to provide the government with “guardrails” for how to incorporate the technologies and ensure they don’t possess bias that runs counter to the mission of agencies (FedScoop).

The Kingsman in NYC

kingsman

Science-fiction movies have a strange way of predicting the future. In case you don’t believe me, let me just name a few recent science fiction movies that will hopefully jog your memory:

  1. Movie: Minority Report (2002)
    Technology: Gesture-based user interface
  2. Movie: Total Recall (1990)
    Technology: Driverless car
  3. Movie: Back to the Future Part II (1989)
    Technology: Wearable tech
  4. Movie: Short Circuit (1986)
    Technology: Military robot
  5. Movie: Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)
    Technology: Mobile phone

Just a few days ago I linked a popular movie, Enemy of the State,  to the national security debate, pitting the tech community vs. governments everywhere. Click HERE if you missed that. Today I’m linking “Kingsman: The Secret Service” to the free WiFi service being installed as we speak in New York City.

If you haven’t seen The Kingsman,  it’s about a spy organization recruiting an unrefined, but promising street kid into the agency’s ultra-competitive training program, just as a global threat emerges from a twisted tech genius. With a little help from IMDB and AceOfGeeks:

The global threat is the release a of new sim card that gives free wifi and calls to everyone around the globe. The sim cards are weapons, a neural augmentation device that triggers hyper aggression in people when broadcasting on a specific frequency controlled by Valentine. The controller of the sim cards can basically use it it out wipe out (i.e. kill) people who are not “on their side”.

statue-of-libertySo what’s the link to New York City? Just this week, workers began installing the first LinkNYC access points in New York. The hubs are designed as an update to the standard phone booth, using upgraded infrastructure to provide gigabit Wi-Fi access points. The full network will install more than 7,500 public hubs throughout the city, each replacing a pre-existing phone booth. (New York is finally installing its promised public gigabit Wi-Fi, The Verge)

Whether the service is free or paid, you better believe there will be some sort of “agreement” you must sign/acknowledge if you use this service, sort of like the ones required by Apple for your iTunes account – the ones that no one reads….  While this may not be a way to WIPE out a certain class or generation of people, like in The Kingsman, you can bet your last dollar the NSA (or some other like-minded government agency) will be spying paying very close attention and tracking everything you do whenever you are on this network. #youdecide

You can watch the official trailer for The Kingsman on YouTube. It’s actually a pretty good movie!